This Washington

Seattle Projects Get Funded in Senate Transpo Budget

By Erica C. Barnett April 26, 2011

As we've reported, Seattle's access to statewide regional mobility grants has been threatened this legislative session---first, because legislators declined to recommend some major Seattle projects for funding despite the fact that the state department of transportation (WSDOT) recommended both projects for funding, and second, because a state senator threatened to make Seattle ineligible for regional mobility grant funding if it didn't give the University of Washington a break on the city's commercial parking tax.

Last week, though, the state senate passed a state transportation budget that included funding for two recommended Seattle projects---transit corridor improvements on NE 45th St. between Ballard and the U District and renovations to King Street Station---while cutting or eliminating funding for other highly recommended projects south of Seattle, including a new park and ride and Sound Transit station at S. 200th St. in SeaTac and new train vehicles to expand Sounder commuter rail between Lakewood and Seattle that was WSDOT's top recommendation for funding. The Ballard transit priority lane was cut out of the house version of the budget, which included the Lakewood-Seattle trains.

The park and ride will receive $5.2 million between now and 2015, or about $2.8 million less than Sound Transit requested; the commuter-rail line is now on the state's "contingency list" of projects that could be funded in the future if money becomes available.

State Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-33 (Des Moines)---angry that a top-ranked project in his district got bumped off the list---called the list of projects a "transportation chair [Judy Clibborn's, D-41] slush fund" for her pet projects.

The senate's transportation budget also cuts funding to Community Transit for Sunday bus service, which has been eliminated, and replaces it with pedestrian, bike, and transit access improvements to 112th St. and Pacific Highway in Pierce County.
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